Now that I just turned 68, I am reminded that when I was in my mid 30’s, people kept on talking about being “middle aged,” which implied that the rest of life was all in decline. That was a negative and depressing perspective; so I developed my own “15 Year Aging Block Theory”
– Age 0-15: The Body Grows – While there is lots of other stuff going on, the biggest thing is your body growing to its full size.
– Age 16-30: The Mind Grows – Through the end of high school, college, and the start of a career, the mind absorbs a lot of new information.
– Age 31-45: The Career Grows – Most people grow, get promoted, and peak in their career by their mid-forties. They will either coast in that job till retirement, or start a new career.
– Age 46-60: The Second Career Grows – The workplace is full of people in this age group who are just “holding on” and waiting for retirement. They have effectively retired on the job. Even if someone stays at their original job, they then will find “something else” to challenge them… church, charity, sports, etc.
If they don’t stay and coast at that job, they could start a new career. Think of the “burned out business executive” who turns to teaching. Or the entrepreneur who quits the corporate world (or is released from it unwillingly) and starts their own consultancy or small business.
– Age 61-75: The Golden Retirement Years – This is when most of the career pressures have diminished and people can focus on family, friends, and tennis. They can take the time to relax, read more, and spend leisure time they never had (or took) before.
–Age 76-90: The Bonus Years – If we get that far… and can stay healthy and active… these are the ‘extra’ years of life.
This theory gives a new perspective to the aging process: rather than continual decline after age 35, we can look forward to ‘the next stage of our lives.’ It is similar to the feeling we senior tournament tennis players feel as they reach the top of our five-year age block; and can look forward to being ‘the young guy’ in the next group the following year!